When the famous red wines of the left bank were classified in 1855, so too were the sweet wines of Sauternes and Barsac. It initially featured wines ranked in two tiers - according to their market value. Château d'Yquem, which occupied around 100 hectares of the best hill in the appellation stood above the rest its own category. At the request of Napoleon III the classification was presented at the Exposition Universelle de Paris. The number of wines included in this list has grown since 1855 and today 26 châteaux make up this prestigious club.
While there have been some amendments to the classification of the Medoc, such as Château Mouton-Rothschild’s 1979 promotion to 1er Grand Cru Classé, there have been no official changes in Sauternes and Barsac. Nevertheless, the list has grown from the original. Several estates have fragmented over time and names such as Peyraguey, Rabaud and Doisy have split into additional châteaux. Château Pexoto, a ten hectare vineyard that was part of the original list was acquired and absorbed into what was then Château Rabaudet and is now Château Sigalas Rabaud.